Iceland has amazing bread, pretty much wherever you go. I swear they are all bakers. Almost every place we've stayed has homemade bread out at breakfast, and whenever you order fish soup at a restaurant they bring you homemade bread. My favourite bread of all has been the geysir bread - a kind of rye bread, baked in the earth by the geothermal heat.
Doesn't look like much but DANG, I could eat it all day! And with what, you ask? Why, with Icelandic butter, of course! Which is as good as the bread. Seriously - it is fantastic butter. A good breakfast has been when you get these two items, plus if they have Skyr, you are set.
Okay, so ... we left Siglufjordur on the 10th, Son's birthday, and had our longest day of driving yet. We don't love spending the day in a car, so fortunately this was the only day of a good five hours of driving, with a couple of stops along the way, as we made our way west and south to the Snaefellsnes Penninsula. I finally got a shot of the sheep we see constantly by the side of the road. One face and one butt.
We came to a village called Rif on the penninsula, to our ugliest-looking (on the outside anyway) accommodation yet. As son said, it looked like a Korean mini-mart.
But in fact, the rooms were very comfy and clean, and we were surrounded - SURROUNDED - by fields full of arctic terns and their young. This meant that every time we went outside, we were dive-bombed by the males, protecting the females who were protecting the babies. This was the best shot I could get.
That evening we went to the only restaurant in town, Gamla Rif, which has one meal: Fish soup and bread, made by two fishermen's wives, from the fish their husbands catch. Simple, but oh so delicious. And they made great cakes, which was a good way to celebrate Son's 18th birthday.
In the morning we started the day by taking a "Crash Course" in Icelandic at The Freezer, this hostel-slash-theatre space in our tiny village of Rif. Yet another thing I love about Iceland: Culture is everywhere, and often where you would least expect it. We were the only three there and it was just a half hour "lecture," but very funny - we learned all the different ways to say "ja" and "nei" (there are many), and in the end we got certificates that said we could now speak Icelandic on the level of an infant.
Afterward we explored some of the beautiful penninsula. A highlight was taking a tour down a lava cave with Thor, below, who had a very dry sense of humour.
The scenery in Snaefellsnes is, like everywhere else we've been, stunning. We did some hikes along the ocean.
Then, when the weather took a turn for the wetter in the afternoon, we went to the local pool in Olafsvik and swam laps. This is something else I love about Iceland - every town seems to have a pool. I don't think you could ever be more than about ten km away from a pool! Oh yeah, and this day was MY birthday ... But I really got my present this morning, on the 12th, because as we started our drive slowly back toward Reykjavik, we went horseback riding.
Now - understand - I don't think I've been on a horse in my life. Once on a donkey, in Mexico (yup). Once on an elephant in Nepal. But horses kind of freak me out. They're beautiful, but big. You are far off the ground. Of course the good thing about Icelandic horses is that you AREN'T so far off the ground. And I really wanted to ride an Icelandic horse, so the boys went along with it. We went to a wonderful place called Stori Kambur and two people took us out for a beautiful ride along the water. This was my horse.
He was such a sweetheart! Very good tempered and just happily followed the others. I was told he was "an older horse" and I said "well I'm an older human so we're perfect for each other." When we started out, I was terrified.
But then we actually galloped along the beach! Galloping was easier to take than trotting - I felt every bone in my body during trotting. Here's Son, at a gallop on the beach, then all of us riding down the beach.
I felt so brave and fearless once I got the hang of it - then I saw the photos our guide took, and realized my horse was ... um ... pretty much mule-sized.
At the end of our ride our guide asked what I did. No one has asked me that on the entire trip, which I like - it's just not a "thing" here, I guess. When I told him I was a writer he was so impressed! He said he was going to look me up. I mention it because I think they love their authors here, and their culture. Anyway it was just rather sweet.
And now we are back in Reykjavik for one last evening ... Husband has booked us the #1 rated restaurant to celebrate my and Son's birthdays with more than a bowl of fish soup. Tomorrow, we go home ... very sad ... BUT, we will go to the Blue Lagoon on our way to the airport!